Margot had two races today. Early this morning, the time trial. Margot came in fourth out of 32 contenders. Placing in the top 6 in the time trial means that you move on and have one of the two middle lanes in the heats.
The top 18 moved on to the first set of qualifying heats - 3 races with 6 people in each.
So early this evening, Margot won her first qualifying heat. This means she will be competing in the A/B semi-final tomorrow. The top 12 move on to this semi-final. When she wins that one :)
she will move on to the A final on Sunday - the top 6 from the A/B final.
So, you start out with any number (in this case 32), winnow it down to 18, winnow it down to 12, and winnow it down to 6, and then the winner.
This is what the winner is driving towards:
"For the men’s and women’s single sculls, the regatta serves as the first step towards making the 2009 Senior National Team that will represent the United States at the 2009 FISA World Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland. The winner of each event will earn the right to compete at a world cup race of their choosing. If the NSR #1 winner finishes in the top four (or top half if there are fewer than eight entries), then he or she will be nominated to the team. For the remaining boat categories, NSR #1 serves as an opportunity for athletes to test their speed early in the season in preparation for future selection regattas and trials."